My (ineffective) life as a categoriser

Published by Tony Quinlan on

I realised a couple of years ago that, although I love the concepts of working more with relationships rather than objects and categories, my natural instinct is still to categorise and try to put things in boxes.  (Reading Fritjof Capra’sThe Web of Life” opened my eyes to the possibilities of, for instance, creating a business where job titles/departments were less relevant than ensuring information flows and relationships.)

It’s something that comes through very strongly from the Cognitive Edge training – that tendency, particularly in Anglo-Saxon societies, to place things rather than see the interweaving relationships.  I realised that recently, when working with the Cynefin framework as a tool to look at how to progress various projects with a client.  Rather than looking at the dynamic movements of tasks/projects between the various domains or the transitions, I was categorising tasks and then identifying approaches accordingly.

One way of using it, but akin to using a DeLorean car as a grocery-shopping runabout.  (Everyone knows they make far better time machines.)

The knock-on effect (for me) is that I’m consciously trying to change how I approach projects.  I’m currently putting together some feedback for a client and find myself falling back into old habits – over here’s the audience category, over here’s the vehicles category.  Having caught it, of course, I’m able to choose something else – audience-relationship-need-vehicle and interlinks between them all.  More difficult to present and fit into PowerPoint slides, but much more helpful in making sense and taking action.